Professor Heather Iles-Smith

School of Health and Society

Photo of Professor Heather Iles-Smith

Contact Details

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Current positions

Professor of Nursing (University of Salford and Northern Care Alliance NHS Group)


In 2020, during Year of the Nurse and Midwife, Heather joined the University of Salford and Northern Care Alliance NHS Group as the first joint Chair of Nursing between the two organisations. Her research is focussed on psychological wellbeing, long term conditions and healthcare technologies. She has a wealth of experience in Applied Health as well as mixed methods and qualitative research.

Current active research includes the NIHR funded COVID Nurse project (twitter); a randomised controlled trial investigating a nursing protocol designed by nurses, to support transactional nursing care for COVID-19 positive patients who are not invasively ventilated. Further studies involve, 1) a survey of the views of NHS staff related to using their own Smart devices at work for work purposes and their understanding of SMART device security, funded by the EPSRC, 2) identifying the prevalence of urinary incontinence in older women within secondary care, determined with the use of real world data, funded by Health Education England. She is also a collaborator as part of ‘AffecTech’ a £4M Marie Curie Innovation Technology grant, investigating biofeedback and development of devices to aid the treatment of anxiety and depression.

Heather is also an experienced PhD supervisor and mentor to HEE/NIHR ICA Interns and a number of Applied Health Research pre-doctoral, doctoral and post-doctoral candidates. An important part of Heathers role involves research capacity building strategies for the nursing, midwifery and AHP (NMAHP) professions across the NCA and the University of Salford. This includes creating and maximising opportunities for increased engagement, research and clinical academic career pathways across the organisations.

Previously, Heather held the position of Head of Nursing Research and Innovation at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Honorary Clinical Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds (UoL). Her role at Leeds included senior management of Research and Innovation (R&I), research capacity building, strategic oversight of the non-medical Clinical Research Careers strategy, and development of innovative clinical academic roles.

National leadership roles include Chair of the NIHR nursing and midwifery Incubator, which aims to increase the number and quality of personal fellowship applications by nurses and midwives to the NIHR Academy. Other national roles include membership of the RCN Clinical Academic Careers group, the National Clinical Academic Roles and Career Pathways Implementation Network (CARINS) supported by the Council of Deans, the Association of UK Lead Research Nurses (previously Chair and instrumental in its development as an association) and membership of the CNO for England Research Strategy Advisory Group. She is also a member of the HEE (north) research strategy advisory group.

Areas of research

Long term conditions, Digital and mental health


  • Research Skills

Research Interests

  • Psychological wellbeing
  • Long term conditions
  • Healthcare technologies

Mixed methods and qualitative research

Qualifications and Memberships


  • PhD
  • RGN


  • NIHR Nursing and Midwifery Incubator (Chair)
  • RCN Clinical Academic Careers group
  • National Clinical Academic Roles and Career Pathways Implementation Network (CARINS)
  • CNO for England Research Strategy Advisory Group